Taiwan & mainland China

I was at a business dinner recently, and someone brought up the topic of Taiwan coming under PRC control. The majority of attendees at the dinner were Taiwanese directors of companies.

Most agreed that it was only a matter of time until they came under mainland rule. Some thought this to be an unpatriotic perspective, whilst others went so far as to suggest that it will happen within a few years.

One chap said that as long as people were making money, it didn’t matter to most Taiwanese.

I never bring this up in conversation with Taiwanese collegues or friends, as I know it is a very sensitive issue (see, I can be sensistive), however I’d be intrigued to hear what other’s perspectives are on this issue. What have Taiwanese people said to you? Are they idealistic, realistic, resigned to their fate?

I Find most Taiwanese are interested in Chinese culture as much as their own Taiwanese culture.

I have heard from a few that they feel inevatably they will return to the motherland, but do not wish too under the current regime in the PRC. I would also think there is still civil war memories lingering in the minds of all the older Taiwanese and Chinese( these consist of the miltary leaders and government leaders in the PRC and ROC) . Accepting Taiwan as part of China is saying that the communists won the war.

The general feeling is wait for long enough until the older regime dies out in China and MAO is replaced by the dollar. Then a unifaction would be more acceptable as Taiwan would have nothing to lose at that point.

Taiwan Independence is being anti KMT. Also being part of China lessens taiwan’s status in the world, eventhough only some countries choose to recognize taiwan, unoffically everybody sees it as a fully independent demorcatic country. It is a symbol of what China could be.

And declaring independence and achieving it, is saying that taiwan people cannot claim to be chinese, sure maybe of Chinese descent but they would feel they lack the prestige of being Chinese. And they become just a little island off a superpower called China whose economy is becoming more dependant on china’s potentially huge economy to survive. Taiwan people, based on the investment in China already, seem to wish to be in part or in full control of this economy.

A taiwanese person once told me a couple of his ideas.
Firstly, the US and others interest in taiwan has only ever and is only ever based on the hope that by keeping the two chinas at eachother’s throats, they are kept weak.
Secondly, china goes through cycles of seperation and unification. This has happened in the past and will happen in the future. So at the moment Taiwan and China are in the midst of a cycle.


And on a totally different topic, based on what was said on another thread about the economy, is the Taiwan economy screwed ? Since taiwan is an export based economy, what can be exported when everything is going to be made in china. Maybe R&D will say here for a while, as there are quality and control issues with factories in China, but inevitably all the support companies software, design etc will be relocated to China for convinence sake.

I think when looking at the job openings on Oriented only look at the positions in China

Kudos to the previous writer. A lot of good points have been made–and I’m glad to see some historical perspective put in here. But I’m going to jump on the soapbox for a few minutes . . . .

I’like to voice my disagreement with a couple of premises that were espoused (not by the previous respondent–but his quote from a Taiwanese that I’ve heard before from other Taiwanese.)

The first was that the US government is trying to keep the unification of China/Taiwan in order to keep China weak. I’d like to point out that it is the present communist government that is seen as the problem in Asia–not the country of China itself. It is a government that only pays lip service to democracy, that continues to suppress it’s people, that encourages corruption by holding on to a one-party system. It is diplomatically unstable and unreasonable. Are the US government’s motives totally trustworthy? Not in all regards. The thing to remember with the US government is that it is always looking out for it’s best interests–looking for opportunities to make MONEY. And it will do that when China is prosperous and STABLE. Not weak. We want a partner we can make money with.

The second premise was that this is another episode of China’s dynastic cyles. This is of course what the mainland government is trying to evangelize, even though there is evidence of China’s outer provinces and ethnic minorities wanting to break free after only 50 years of their rule. Mao Zedong did in fact bring about a new dynasty–and Jiang Zemin wants to enhance his name by grabbing back Taiwan to prove that he and the Communist Party have the “Mandate of Heaven”.

I have stated before, and I will repeat that the communist government in China will be gone within fifteen years.

My rant to the Taiwanese business community: What I resent in Taiwan is the attitude of a large part of the business and political community that has treated Taiwan as a temporary hangout post until the day that they can claim their place on the Mainland.

What I resent are the Taiwanese businessmen who are flocking to China with the same blind idiocy that made them invest in the Dot-Bomb / High-tech balloon two years ago. They believe whole-heartedly that the cure for their ills is always going to be cheap labor. (Never mind that an investment in better management skills and higher level technologies is what is what’s driving the US and Japan.) That in and of itself is okay–it’s they’re money, and their time. But that they are doing it at the expense of the hard-fought freedoms that Taiwan has won is what makes them earn my disdain.

I truly wish that the Taiwanese would look deeper into their history and their culture, with the idea that they could understand what a truly great country they have–as well as the opportunity they have to make Taiwan the greatest democracy in Asia. The Taiwanese can lead China–rather than China lead them.

Taiwan should give to the Mainland what is theirs–starting with the treasures that the KMT stole in '49. But they should hold onto what is their own true legacy–a free Taiwan.

Have I raised anybody’s ire? Good. Let’s keep it polite–let’s share ideas.

Allright everybody–sound off.

I have changed my name from Conor White.

Just on on appoint about Communist China …I think it is already a relic… cause it has no choice …I think everybody including the hardliners know that communism doesn’t work…but are afraid to openly state the obvious for fear of the breakdown of China…it now has been replaced by the government pushing this patriotism rethoric…as was seem in spy plane incident two months ago…and slipping the capitalism thingy in little by little…that way nobody including MAo Tze Dung loses face…I hope though they do not ignore the more western underdeveloped regions of China… as this may lead to a huge gap in living standards…life quality across the country.

the business commmunity is the same anywhere in the world…go where it is cheaper…Little Ho Chi Man, 12 years old, making Nike shoes in Vietnam. Irelands rejection of the Nice treaty is a big “NO” to the possibilty of MNCs and big businesses going into Eastern Europe and having the EU market… for the very thing the Taiwanese are going to China for…cheap labour thus better markup and profit on manufacutered goods.

I agree with BUSH’s really republican attitude to China…he is at least testing them and seeing how they really play on the international stage…Before when communism was entrenched in China…nobody really knew how to deal with them on the international stage…Clinton was too open and he gave that really fake laugh too often… and the Chinese are too coy for to be treated like this

I have also heared Taiwanese mention the opinion wholeheartedly that “The US wants to drive a wedge between the two Chinas.”

But how much of the population is gullible enough to buy that demogog emotional claptrap (in my accounting of history) is hard for me to say. The typical purveyor seems to be a loud, brassy, but hardworking & energetic businessman who is feeling the crunch of the export related economy, or so I have witnessed. Wishful historical reckoning perhaps?

Two Chinas? Since when are there “Two Chinas”? The US government adheres to a “One China Policy.”

According to the Taiwan Relations Act, the nomenclature of “Republic of China” is not recognized after January 1, 1979.

Do Lien Chan or any KMT cronies recognize One China? Or is there One China the Republic Of China, not the PRC???

MZD can’t lose face. he’s dead. you’re trying to say something else.

Why do the first five posts read like they are a conversation between the same person?

Two Chinas? Since when are there “Two Chinas”? The US government adheres to a “One China Policy.”

According to the Taiwan Relations Act, the nomenclature of “Republic of China” is not recognized after January 1, 1979.[/quote]

Even if US and UN adheres to One China, does not mean it is correct.

Taiwan is not China. Taiwan is Taiwan. Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895, and there is no record of it ever having been given back. That is the “secret” that the KMT era of white terror was trying to cover up . . . . . . . . . .

So, there is no point in calling Taiwan “China”. The world community’s insistence on the One China Policy is correct. See –

ROC is a government in exile

A lot of Taiwanese people want to reunite with China. I was so surprised the first time I met someone who said this – before I came to Taiwan I thought that of course Taiwanese people wanted to be independent; they were just being realistic when they didn’t push for an open declaration of independence.
It was one of my first classes in Chinese. Suddenly, a string of firecrackers went off outside on the street, and I joked, “Oh, looks like the Chinese invasion has started.” My Chinese teacher replied that she would welcome them with open arms. This is a woman who came to Taiwan as a refugee, by the way.
However, after that I realized that most of the waishengren I met agreed with her. They, or their parents, fled the communists and arrived in Taiwan as refugees, but that does not mean their attitude to China is one of fear or hatred. China is their homeland, and they want to be reunited with it. For many of them, the regime in Beijing is irrelevant.

In most countries such immigrants who placed their loyalty to the motherland above their adopted country would not be considered true countrymen. Those waishengren who think that way are not truly Taiwanese, and I think most Taiwanese people - the native Taiwanese who have been here for hundreds of years - don’t consider them as such.

To draw an analogy, the way that many Cuban refugees in Florida feel about Cuba isn’t the same as how other Americans feel towards that island.

  • not Taiwan. So please don’t call them “Taiwanese”. They are not. If they want to be reunited with the motherland so much, the option of packing their bags and moving on back is always open. I have as much sympathy for them as I have for those patriotic Taiwanese cowering away in Vancouver with their dual visas. God, if only all those meddling foreigners with no love or ties to this little island haven’t always had a history of fucking up this place by using it as a pawn…think about it, that’s half of Taiwan’s problems in a nutshell, meddling foreigners like the KMT using this island as a pawn in 1949, the source of 90% of Taiwan’s problems. Those kind of people never cared about Taiwan and its people, they only used it as a temporary hideout and launching pad for future ambitions.

I also thought it was strange that so many citizens of Taiwan actually want their country to be absorbed by another. Surely the problem with comparing Taiwan to other countries is that the number of waishengren is so large. (Think what the US would be like if 20% of its people were recent refugees from Cuba.) Not all waishengren have the attitude that China is their real country, I know, but it seems there are certainly enough of them to swing the outcome of this election.

True enough, but if they don’t come where is Taiwan now? just another backwater island with more than its share of problems, you can bet.

I keep trying to think of other international situations comparable to Taiwan. The U.S. has what, 13 % of our population consisting of Mexicans? Whose political language includes choice terms like “Aztlan” and “La Raza”? Whose people boo the American flag? A key question (there as here) would be, what is the society to which we might expect newcomers to be loyal? Who gets to decide? In Taiwan’s case, the mainlanders were able to impose their own interpretation of civil society.

Here’s another example: The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a democratic, independent, ethnically Turkish enclave which shares an island with the regular country of Cyprus, which though populated by Greeks is independent of Greece. The Greek half is recognized diplomatically by everybody except Turkey, the Turkish half…well, I guess giving the converse would be redundant.

Now the Greek Cypriots want Turkish Cyprus to agree to reunification. They don’t much care that the Turkish Cypriots would rather not, and the only reason they might agree anyway is because the Greek Cypriots have persuaded other countries to make that a condition of Turkish Cyprus getting in the EU. Money over freedom, in other words. (Sound familiar?)

For the Greek Cypriots its a nationalist thing–which only makes it worse, from the Turkish Cypriots’ perspective. Otherwise people might be happy to leave well enough alone, as in Yugoslavia (where a situation like Cyprus would be considered a solution rather than a problem). Greek Cypriots will speak of thousands of years of Greek civilization, and how Cyprus has always been a part of this Greek civilization.

The Turkish Cypriots are afraid of being economically and politically dominated by the more populous (on Cyprus) and prosperous Greek Cypriots. They want to control their own territory and lives. This desire is not well understood by the Greek Cypriots, who tend to conflate the Turkish Cypriots with the Turkish Turks (as the Turkish Cypriots do with the Greek Cypriots and the Greek Greeks) and see them all as the enemy. Many of them in fact did immigrate recently.

The “solution” currently envisioned is a federal system, but one in which Greek Cypriots might still manage under EU law to move “back” to the Turkish half of Cyprus. Since they have more money for buying real estate, the danger to the continuity of the Turkish half is great.